Is there a high probability of meeting the perfect partner?
In 2010, Peter Backus, a PhD student in economics at Warwick University, published a humorous article titled "Why I Don't Have a Girlfriend: Applying the Drake Equation to Love in Britain".
Drake's equation is a formula for calculating the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in the Galaxy that earthlings could make contact with. Backus applied it to a different problem: finding the perfect girl for him in London: college-educated, physically attractive to him, and age-appropriate.
Drake's equation looks like this:
N = R · fp · ne · fl · fi · fc · L
In the original formula, fp was the fraction of stars with planetary systems, L was the time during which intelligent life on another planet exists and is ready to make contact, and so on.
Peter Backus, on the other hand, reinterpreted the equation so that L, for example, represented the number of years he was alive and therefore able to date a girl, and added new variables, including fA, the proportion of women in London that matched his age preference. He was 31 at the time of publication, and he wanted to meet a woman 24-34 years old.
Only 10,510 women in the U.K., according to Backus' calculations, met his basic requirements for a partner. That's 0.00017% of the British population, which seems optimistic overall.
But Backus estimates that only one in 20 eligible women would in turn find him attractive, half of them would be married, and he would only get along with one in ten.
Thus, the number of girls in London with whom he could create a "great relationship" with mutual feelings came down to 26, and the probability that he would find the perfect partner was 1 in 285,000. To some, these conclusions may seem depressing, but it is still a hundred times more likely than humanity's contact with an extraterrestrial civilization.
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